On June 27, 2018, 67 newly registered Youth Apprentices signed their letter of agreement signifying a commitment to work in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries through the  Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee’s (AJAC) Production Technician Youth Apprenticeship program. These 67 Youth Apprentices are employed across 30+ manufacturers and nine counties in Washington State.

Youth Apprentices throughout the program will receive 15 tuition-free college credits, two high school credits, roughly $28,000 in earned income and a nationally-recognized journey-level credential.

View photos from the event on AJAC’s Flickr page.

 

SEATTLE, WA – On Friday, June 22nd, Washington State became home to 72 new aerospace and advanced manufacturing journeymen and women apprentices. The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) recognized the Class of 2018 as the largest to date, journeying out highly-skilled workers for the industry’s top occupations including machinists, metal fabricators, tool and die makers and the first youth apprentices as production technicians.

To receive a journey-level credential from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, all apprentices must meet their required on-the-job and college-classroom hours in addition to completing a CPR/First-Aid Certification course.

“The perseverance of the 72 graduates equates to a combined 41,000 hours of college-level classroom instruction and over half a million on-the-job training hours,” said Demetria “Lynn” Strickland, Executive Director of AJAC, during her closing remarks. As apprentices develop mastery on the shop floor, they become more knowledgeable in their trade, until they graduate, and journey-out as master craftsmen in their own right.

Jesse Milbrath, a graduate machinist at Machinists, Inc., in Seattle and a member of the Class of 2018, spoke during the ceremony about his journey through apprenticeship, including the remarkable defeat of becoming the youngest machinist graduate at 21 years old. “If you want something you have to work for it. Without apprenticeship, I wouldn’t have been able to support myself, and the goals I’ve set forward for my life. Being here today is a culmination of people believing in me, and me believing in myself. Now, it is our job to keep believing in ourselves, but more importantly, start to believe in others,” Jesse concluded.

Understanding the value an apprentice is determined by each company’s journey-level wage rate. Apprentices start out at a percentage of that wage rate, typically 60% or more. Once an apprentice becomes a journey-level worker, he or she can physically show their value through this recognized credential.

Now, it is our job to keep believing in ourselves, but more importantly, start to believe in others

“You now have something to show your knowledge,” Milbrath said. “Instead of someone trying to take my word for it, I know my worth.”

Over the next five years, the Washington State projects a staggering 740,000 job openings will be available for skilled workers, including many in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries. Finding skilled workers is a daunting challenge for many employers today, however, through registered apprenticeships, vital industries can remain competitive for generations to come.

Congratulations to the AJAC Class of 2018!

View photos from the ceremony via AJAC’s Flickr Page.

Apprenticeships are not an alternative to higher education. It is higher education. This sentiment rang loud and true during the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit, which in its second year, expanded the conversation of Youth Apprenticeships to not only aerospace and advance manufacturing, but other sustainable industries including healthcare, culinary and IT. What many consider to be a bipartisan topic, apprenticeships have long-stood the test of time to deliver career-ready skills and college-level classroom instruction to our nation’s high-growth, in-demand jobs, many which do not require a four-year degree.

Governor Inslee, during his keynote address, made it known that post-secondary education does not mean every student needs to attend a four-year institution, “It is a revolutionary change in how we think of our children’s future, and when we have a revolution, it’s great to be right at the beginning,” Governor Inslee said during his opening remarks.

“We need to grow this dramatically…90% of parents say their kids going to get a four-year college degree, but only 30% do…We have to stop telling our kids that you are a failure if you don’t get a four-year degree,” Inslee said.

Governor Inslee during his remarks at the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit in Olympia, Washington. 

A cultural change is needed in our communities if Youth Apprenticeship will continue to thrive. To do so, expanding the opportunities for students will make the goal of 100,000 youth apprentices over the next ten years realistic and obtainable. This commitment can only be met if other industries begin to expand their reach into the local high schools. Spokane started the charge with Youth Apprenticeships in Washington State and have since expanded their line of paid on-the-job training to industries such as healthcare, culinary, and manufacturing.

Governor Inslee also acknowledged the state’s first IT apprentice to enroll in a new program launched by the Washington Technology Industry Association Workforce Institute which aims to provide a pipeline of talent, particularly for “underrepresented groups such as minorities, women and veterans to gain training, certification and placement within the talent-hungry tech industry.”

Sam Yost (left) and Richard Oeun (right) pose for a photo after their Youth Apprenticeship Panel during the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit on January 30, 2018.

To move the needle on Youth Apprenticeships, many agree that businesses need to play a more prominent role in hiring the next generation of workers. From workplace variances to industry-aligned curriculum, businesses must be a part of the conversation if Youth Apprenticeships are going to thrive in Washington State.

Washington is one of 13 states to implement a structured, register Youth Apprenticeship program, joining others including Wisconsin, Kentucky, South Carolina and Colorado. Employers, high schools, post-secondary institutions and intermediaries make up the foundation of successful programs. The infrastructure needed for Youth Apprenticeships is great, but reinventing the wheel isn’t necessary. Brent Parton, Deputy Director at New America’s Center on Education and Skills closed the summit elegantly, “Youth apprenticeship is the biggest ask, with the biggest possible upside.”

Governor Inslee alongside Paula Yost and Sam Yost (AJAC Youth Apprentice) after his keynote address at the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit. 

Check out photos from the 2018 Governor’s Youth Apprenticeship Summit on AJAC’s Flickr page.

Governor Inslee delivered his annual State of the State Address to the Washington State Senate and the State House of Representatives on January 9, 2018.

During his speech, Governor Inslee spent a few minutes highlighting his Career Connected Learning initiative, his trip to Switzerland and AJAC’s inaugural Youth Apprenticeship program, “You can go to Tacoma and see for yourself how this works. It was a joy last year to celebrate our state’s first 15 registered youth apprentices as they prepared to launch rewarding careers in aerospace. Let’s expand that opportunity, as well as apprenticeship programs for our veterans and other Washingtonians, in the coming years,” Inslee said.

Since Tacoma launched its first Youth Apprenticeship program, AJAC has implemented similar programs at West Valley High School (Yakima), Snohomish High School and secured partnerships with Puyallup High School, Shadle Park High School (Spokane School District) , Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center, Everett School District and the Mukilteo School District – all whom expect to launch their AJAC in 2018.

Learn more about AJAC’s Youth Apprenticeship Program online.

Kent, Washington has a new home for advanced manufacturing. The Advanced Manufacturing Prep (AMP) Training Center was unveiled during a grand opening on December 6th in partnership with the City of Kent and Port of Seattle.

The 3,000 square foot training center offers a suite of advanced manufacturing programs geared towards local employers and job seekers alike. This is the first training center the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) has operated to meet the needs of an industry with a growing skills gap and shortage of middle skilled workers.

 

“We’re really here to provide the training for employers and for employers to talk to us and tell us what they need,” said Demetria “Lynn” Strickland, Executive Director of AJAC. The six programs AJAC will offer are based on industry demand and future needs of employers, as technology drives new, innovative products.These programs include orientation and screening for job seekers, pre-apprenticeship for advanced manufacturing, entry-level and advanced apprenticeships for incumbent workers, short-term training for local employers and master mentorship courses to skill-up our current mentors on the shop floor.

“We are very excited to be able to help AJAC open an office in Kent,” said Ben Wolters, Economic Development Director for the City of Kent. “Kent’s manufacturing and industrial economy is bustling, but employers are struggling to find qualified and skilled employees. Having AJAC open up a training facility convenient to both Kent’s diverse group of advanced manufacturers and its growing population of job seekers will help ensure Kent’s manufacturers continue to thrive and our residents continue to see new career opportunities.”

New career opportunities stems from the high-tech machinery and equipment readily available in today’s manufacturing industry. Equipment students will learn on includes a computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) HAAS VF2, manual knee mills, step shear and box and pan brake, three wire feed welding units, prusa four-color 3D printer, inspection tools, and a full-service classroom.

Support for the AMP Training Center was made possible by the Port of Seattle and the City of Kent. Through the Port’s Economic Development Partnership Program, the City of Kent allocated funds as an investment for job creation.

“The Port of Seattle is a proud sponsor of the Advanced Manufacturing Prep Training Center in Kent,” said Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. “Projects like this are exactly what we had in mind when we created our Economic Development Grants, so that we can partner with cities like Kent in order to bring jobs and economic growth to our region.”

Manufacturing jobs continue to grow, with over 31,000 added in November 2017. The problem many employers face is vacant positions due to unqualified workers. To fill these positions, manufacturing needs to skill-up and retrain the current and future workforce. Vocational facilities for industries including manufacturing can truly make an impact on local communities to create sustainable jobs, higher wages and low unemployment rates regionally.

VIEW: Photos from the new AMP Training Center